Annette Taddeo backs Naomi Blemur as Ag Commish Primary heats up
A case of buyer's remorse?

Naomi Blemur ART
Naomi Blemur has only been in the race for a month, but she’s taking over the Democratic money game.

Momentum is building behind Naomi Blemur’s campaign for Agriculture Commissioner, which now has support from state Sen. Annette Taddeo.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Blemur’s campaign announced that the former Democratic gubernatorial candidate turned congressional candidate has endorsed Blemur in a longshot campaign to deny Senate President Wilton Simpson’s bid for Agriculture Commissioner.

Blemur is a first-generation Haitian American minister, businesswoman and consultant. If elected, she would be the first Haitian American to lead the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the first Haitian American on the Florida Cabinet.

“As a prominent member of our South Florida community and businesswoman, I know that Dr. Naomi Blemur not only has the vision and the drive necessary to win this race but to also lead our state forward,” Taddeo said in a statement.

In just one month of campaigning, Blemur has taken the money lead in the Democratic Primary with $21,000 raised and $20,000 cash on hand. She has also nearly matched the spending of Primary opponent Ryan Morales, a cannabis activist and former state House candidate. With the help of a $10,000 loan, she has spent $10,000 to his $12,000.

Blemur’s swift ascent in the Democratic Primary comes despite Morales having a year head start to replace Nikki Fried at FDACS.

“I am proud to receive the endorsement of Senator Annette Taddeo, the first Latina Democrat elected to the State Senate in Florida’s history,” Blemur said. “It is exciting to be on the front lines working for the people of this state with leaders who have inspired me for so long.”

Taddeo was first elected to the Florida Senate in 2016 after having been former Gov. Charlie Crist’s running mate in 2014. Last month, Taddeo dropped out of the Democratic gubernatorial Primary against Crist and Fried to challenge U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar in the 27th Congressional District.

Blemur’s entrance into the Agriculture Commissioner race set up a three-way Primary for the Democratic nomination. Morales had been the only candidate for months and had campaigned alongside Adam Hattersley, a former State Representative and the Chief Financial Officer Democratic nominee. Between the late entrances of Blemur and J.R. Gaillot, a former U.S. House candidate who is also Haitian American, Morales’ path to the Democratic nomination isn’t so certain.

Whoever wins the Agriculture Commissioner Primary on Aug. 23, will have a difficult task in holding the seat for Democrats. Fried is the only Democrat to win a statewide race in Florida since former President Barack Obama and former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012. Fried only won her race in 2018 by less than 7,000 votes.

Simpson, who is expected to win the Republican nomination for Agriculture Commissioner, has served in the state Senate for eight years and has led the chamber the last two. He has been a fundraising powerhouse, having raised $2 million in his campaign account. He also controls political committees with access to millions more.

FDACS oversees the state agriculture and aquaculture industries, forestry, firearm licensing and more.

Blemur says, as Agriculture Commissioner, she will prioritize small farmers, clean water, renewable and sustainable energy, gun reform, growing Florida’s hemp economy, and providing nutritional breakfasts and lunches in all public schools.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


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